The Qur'an and its Biblical Subtext (Routledge Studies in the Qur'an)
Gabriel Said Reynolds
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This book challenges the dominant scholarly notion that the Qur’ān must be interpreted through the medieval commentaries shaped by the biography of the prophet Muhammad, arguing instead that the text is best read in light of Christian and Jewish scripture. The Qur’ān, in its use of allusions, depends on the Biblical knowledge of its audience. However, medieval Muslim commentators, working in a context of religious rivalry, developed stories that separate Qur’ān and Bible, which this book brings back together.
In a series of studies involving the devil, Adam, Abraham, Jonah, Mary, and Muhammad among others, Reynolds shows how modern translators of the Qur’ān have followed medieval Muslim commentary and demonstrates how an appreciation of the Qur’ān’s Biblical subtext uncovers the richness of the Qur’ān’s discourse. Presenting unique interpretations of 13 different sections of the Qur’ān based on studies of earlier Jewish and Christian literature, the author substantially re-evaluates Muslim exegetical literature. Thus The Qur’ān and Its Biblical Subtext, a work based on a profound regard for the Qur’ān’s literary structure and rhetorical strategy, poses a substantial challenge to the standard scholarship of Qur’ānic Studies. With an approach that bridges early Christian history and Islamic origins, the book will appeal not only to students of the Qur’an but of the Bible, religious studies and Islamic history.
18.25) is secondary. Indeed in the next verse the Qur’an implies that this sort of calculation is anyway unimportant: “God knows best how long they tarried” (Q 18.26). As for the other dispute, over the number of Companions, the Qur’an offers no denitive answer at all. After noting that some argue there were three and the dog a fourth, others ve and the dog a sixth, and still others seven and the dog an eighth, the Qur’an simply relates: “Say, ‘My Lord knows their number best’ ” (18.22). The
summit, the crest of the Flood * reached only its foothills; these it kissed with reverence * before turning back, to rise above and subdue the peak * of every hill and mountain. The foothills of Paradise it kisses * while every summit it buffets.102 99 On this see TB, 105 – 7. 100 On this see Anderson, “The cosmic mountain.” As Anderson explains, the notion of a cosmic mountain has deep roots in North-West Semitic religious traditions. In Jewish tradition Sinai is also presented as a
see especially R. Dozy, Die Israeliten zu Mekka von Davids Zeit, Leipzig: Engelmann, 1864; A.J. Wensinck, Mohammed en de Joden te Medina, Leiden: Brill, 1908; English trans.: Muhammad and the Jews of Medina, trans. W. Behn, Freiburg: Schwarz, 1975; R. Leszynsky, Die Juden in Arabien zur Zeit Mohammeds, Berlin: Mayer and Müller, 1910; D.S. Margoliouth, The Relations between Arabs and Israelites Prior to the Rise of Islam, London: Oxford University Press, 1924; H. Hirschberg, Judische und
speculative point, although it seems to me quite reasonable. On the other hand no speculation is needed to see how the Qur’an connects its own prophet to Abraham the gentile. In al-baqara (2) 127 – 9 the Qur’an has Abraham implore God to send forth a prophet from among his descendents: When Abraham, with Isma‘cl, was raising the foundations of the house, [he said] “O Lord, accept [this] from us. You are the seer, the knower. * O Lord make us submissive to you, and make a nation (umma) submissive
the ten tribes who never returned from their exile, and whose location was never discovered. 348 Trans. I. Epstein, London: Soncino, 1935, 1:445 – 6. 349 See AEL, 156b. 350 Although no direct relationship with the Qur’anic material on the People of the Sabbath is evident, it is worth mentioning the prominence of New Testament narratives involving sh or shing. These include the parable of heaven as a dragnet ( Mt 13.47 – 9), the multiplication of the sh and loaves ( Mt 14.14 – 22; 15.32 – 8;